The Newcastle Jockey Clubs first two-day Autumn Carnival in two decades ticked all boxes with a superbly prepared racing surface, perfect weather conditions, healthy crowds and a home town win in the feature race, the Group 3 Suez Newcastle Newmarket.
The success of the carnival with the Newmarket on Friday and Polytrack Provincial Championships on Saturday has the NJC keen to promote the two-day carnival on a permanent basis.
On the track, Kris Lees landed his first Newcastle Newmarket when Australian Bloodstocks bonnie mare Princess Posh stormed home from the tail of the field to run down favourite Savatiano in the shadows of the post.
Brenton Avdulla who has had a successful association with Lees and Australian Bloodstock rode the winner.
The Newmarket was run at a fast tempo and Princess Posh’s winning time of 1-21.79 was a new 1400 metre track record.
Avdulla was thrilled to win the Group 3. “I had the back of Invincible Gem from the 1000 and I was able to creep into the race without doing any work.
Once I presented I knew Savatiano was off and gone but my mare knuckled down to the task” Avdulla said.
The winner’s stablemate Invincible Gem was only a length away from Princess Posh, an indication she is recapturing her best form.
Princess Posh has won three races on her home track- The Group 3 Tibbie Stakes, the 2018 Provincial Qualifier and now the Newmarket. Lees had left the track by the time the Newmarket was run. He was en route to the airport to fly to Melbourne to check on his runners in Saturday’s Flemington Newmarket.
Lees’ mother Vicki accepted the trainer’s trophy at the presentation.
The late Max Lees won three Newcastle Newmarket’s, Vain Fury (1985), Lucky Rass (1988) and Techniques (1999).
Kris Lees also won with New Zealand mare Vendella earlier in the day.
Newmarket Day coincides with International Women’s Day and the Moet & Chandon function in the trackside marquee attracted a full house of 400.
A cracking field lined up for the Polytrack Provincial Championships Qualifier on Saturday.
The richly talented South Coast galloper Archedemus chasing his fifth win “on the trot” was an odds-on favourite.
Wyong trained Oakfield Twilight and local All From Scrap set the pace with Archedemus ready to pounce. Oakfield Twilight kicked away in the straight and looked home for all money as Archedemus was hard ridden. However, the favourite is tough, and he just kept coming to grab victory by 3/4 length. Oakfield Missile cut his stablemate Oakfield Twilight out of second place.
All three placegetters will run in next months $500,000 Final at Randwick.
It was another double for Kris Lees and Australian Bloodstock on Saturday.
Clevanicc continued his purple patch of form while Think Free an outstanding prospect made it three wins from five starts.